The Tax Office told agents to make sure their clients know the “warning signs to avoid falling head over heels for a scammer”.
ATO tells accountants to caution clients of scammers
The ATO is telling accountants to ensure their clients are aware of possible scammers in the leadup to tax time.
The Tax Office said ensuring clients know of the warning signs was crucial to avoid them “falling head-over-heels for a scammer.”
The first example the ATO provided was scammers trying to impersonate them across social media.
“Scammers have been known to impersonate us on social media, offering to help people with their tax and super questions,” said the ATO.
“But they’re only trying to help themselves to your client’s information.”
“Remind your clients to ensure they only interact with our verified Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts.”
The Tax Office also told accountants to caution their clients of impersonators sending them links that could look real but when clicked leads them to a fake online portal for the scammers to steal their myGov login credentials.
“We will never send your clients a link to login to our online services,” it said.
“Encourage your clients to only access our services directly via ato.gov.au, my.gov.au or the ATO app.”
The third warning sign the ATO cautioned about was phone calls from those impersonating the ATO.
“Scammers try their best to keep people engaged in a conversation for as long as possible to collect as much personal information as they can,” said the Tax Office.
“Remind your clients not to engage with any suspicious contact, whether on the phone or online.”
“Instead tell them to phone us on 1800 008 540 to check if it was us interacting with them.”
The instruction to tax agents comes after the government found the ATO had already received 19,843 scam reports before the rush of tax time had even properly started.
Minister for Financial Services Stephen Jones urged individuals to be on their toes with an increase in fraudulent activity forecast for the tax season.
“The government expects to see heightened scam activity and new tax scams being circulated in the lead up and during tax time,” said Mr Jones.
“Ahead of tax time, we are warning the community about the common tricks of tax scammers.”